In 1996, an autobiographical novel titled, “Into The Wild” opened in bookstores. Based on a true story. In The Early 90s, recent college gradate Christopher McCandless decides to change his lifestyle, discards his prized possessions, gives away his savings account to charity and travels on foot to Alaska to live in the wild. After a long process, he resides in an abandon bus located in The Stampede Trail. The book earned positive reviews from critics and readers alike. Plus, it sold enough copies worldwide. This caught the attention of Sean Penn. He became fascinated with McCandless’ life story. At first, he wanted Leonardo DiCaprio (my favorite actor) as McCandless. Unfortunately, he decided to postpone his pet project in favor of seeking McCandless’ family members’ approval for a respectful adaptation. A decade later, Sean resumes development with Emile Hirsh in the lead role.
Into The Wild was released in 2007. (same year Zodiac came out) It received positive reviews from critics. Besides glowing reception, it also made enough revenue at the box office. Into The Wild earned two Oscar nominations for “Best Supporting Actor” (Hal Holbrook) & “Best Film Editing.” Unfortunately, none of them took home the prize.
Sean Penn’s next film as director is called, Flag Day.” He will also star in it alongside Josh Brolin & Miles Teller.
This review doesn’t contain no SPOILERS. I’ll give anybody a chance to read the book or watch the movie. Keep in mind, my review is pretty short, because it’s not a Marvel movie or any Christopher Nolan film. Just a self-contained true story about one man’s journey to Alaska. Is Into The Wild worth your spare time? Let’s get down to business.
Warm & Cold Elements
Warm: Emile Hirsch did an amazing job for his performance. He also did all his stunts without a body double. Don’t forget he lost weight to play McCandless. Emile must’ve taken Christian Bale’s advice losing weight with maximum effort. Both Emile & Christian are method actors known for immersing themselves in character.
Other Cast Members such as Vince Vaughn, (in a serious role) William Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden, Jena Malone, Catherine Keener, Kristen Stewart, (who’s really good in this movie) Zach Galifianakis & the late Hal Holbrook all did a great job for their respective performances.
Sean Penn did a decent job adapting the book in visual format by writing the screenplay, producing and directing. It took him a decade to make Into The Wild, he waited patiently for McCandless’ family members’ approval. Besides acting and being a pretentious hothead in real life, Sean has experience solely as a director including “Indian Runner,” “The Crossing Guard & “The Pledge.” His most recent film “The Last Face” is a misfire.
Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder provides music for the film. He also wrote some songs used in certain scenes.
Editing felt smooth not relying on fast pacing from one scene to the next.
McCandless’ life story is presented in chapters set during The Early 90s as he goes on an adventure to Alaska. As he travels, he meets a few strangers on the way.
Practical Effects were used in certain scenes involving McCandless’ survival.
Primary Themes are Survival, Nature, Freedom, Exile, Loneliness & Regret. All themes are handled maturely.
Moral of this true story is if you’re wanna change your lifestyle living in the wilderness without proper resources or equipment, natural consequences will happen in the most dangerous way you can possibly imagine.
Without giving too much away, The Ending shows what happened to McCandless’ wellbeing. If you’ve already read the book or saw the film, you know why.
Cold: Cinematography often displays Shaky Cam in certain scenes. Who’s in charge of filming Woody Woodpecker drinking too much Monster Energy?
If this movie ain’t your cup of tea, you might get bored easily. Honestly, I never felt miserably dull.
The Final Verdict: A-
From my point of view, Into The Wild is definitely worth your spare time. McCandless’ journey to Alaska is a fascinating life story containing a lotta coverage. If you wanna find something good to watch, I highly recommend this movie. If you’re planning on going to The Stampede Trail, the bus is no longer around. Due to safety hazards, the Alaska Army National Guard removed it.